Not for the faint-hearted - RFC India 2017

RFC India
Not for the faint-hearted: Unprecedented adventure in store for the off-road maniacs at Force Gurkha RFC India 2017

New Delhi, June 7, 2017: With less than two months left for the fourth edition of India’s toughest and the most celebrated annual off-road motorsport competition, the Force Gurkha RFC India, adrenaline is running high in the entire Indian off-roading community. There is a lot of speculation about what to expect from the upcoming event, to be held in Goa from 22nd July to 30th July. Well, here is a teaser of the new things in store for participants and visitors at Force Gurkha RFC India 2017.

Firstly, a lot of fresh offroad talent will be coming forward and participating in this muddy and slushy battle of man and machine in extreme off-road conditions. Of the 40 teams that will be competing for the Force Gurkha RFC India 2017 Champion title, as many as 13 will be making their debut in the event this year. These newcomers include Ajit Bache from Pune, Sushant Saini from Yamuna Nagar, Dattaraj Dessai from Goa, Gowtham Santhakumar from Pollachi, MK Rojith, Shibu Varghese, Nithin Uday Krishna and Shemi Mustafa from Kerala, Pragun Arora from Delhi, Sachin Chordiya from Aurangabad, R. Sumanth Shenoy from Chikmagalur and Venkat Devineni from Hyderabad.

As per Mr. Ashish Gupta, Founder & Director of Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd, the company that organizes RFC India, “It is gratifying to see that RFC India continues to draw new participants every year. While we see some of India’s most evolved offroaders coming back year after year, having fresh talent from all corners of the country come forth means that we are one step closer to our objective of popularizing off-road motorsport across India and getting it recognized as a mainstream sport. Moreover, first timers come with a lot of enthusiasm and it will interesting to see what techniques and tricks they have up their sleeve. To acknowledge the budding offroad talent, this year we have instituted the ‘Rookie of the Event’ award that will be given to the best newcomer of the competition.”

Another interesting factor is that a driver from the US will be competing in Force Gurkha RFC India for the first time. William Dwaine Jungen from Tucson, Arizona, who has around 40 years of off-roading experience, will be representing Chandigarh’s Team IronScorpion. He will be driving the Scorpion MKI, which is the winner of the US Top Truck Challenge. In terms of its design, the Scorpion has a patented suspension, with a 52-inch articulation and a 12-degree chassis role. It has a 5.7 litre V8 petrol engine that is coupled to an automatic transmission. The vehicle has undergone modifications to be compliant with the safety and technical requirements of the event.

In terms of vehicle builds, the upcoming edition of Force Gurkha RFC India will see some real beasts with significantly more powerful engines compared to what have been used in the past. Few competing vehicles will have powerful naturally aspirated V8 engines with high torque and power. Efforts are being made to enhance suspensions to match such output. In terms of design, vehicle height has been reduced to lower the center of gravity. Since winching is critical in most Special Stages of Force Gurkha RFC India, the weights of vehicles have also been reduced to improve the efficiency of the winches.

The event organizers and RFC India Course Master David Metcalfe are known to throw in some unexpected challenges in each edition of this extremely tough competition. This year, the event format has been changed considerably, with the initial legs of the competition being held in certain off-road locations away from the city and the spectator Special Stages (SS) taking place in the city towards the end of the competition. “We are also contemplating adding a few night stages to make the competition more interesting. Some new sites have also been shortlisted and we will be finalizing them within the next couple of weeks”, Mr. Gupta said.

There have been some changes in the Classes as well. In Force Gurkha RFC India 2017, separate Petrol and Diesel Classes for Above 3010 cc Engine have been introduced. The organizers have also increased the stakes this year as the total benefits that the top Indian driver of the competition will get will amount to $8,000. This includes the automatic fully paid-for entry in the RFC 2017 Grand Final in Malaysia that is worth $3,900 and the travel expenses amounting to around $1,100. Moreover, Cougar Motorsport will contribute up to $3,000 towards the cost of arranging the competition vehicle for participating in the Mother Event in Malaysia, to be held at the end of the year.
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RedBull TV to broadcast live WRC in 2017

Redbull media - WRC car light streak!
Redbull TV announced live TV telecast of longer duration coverage to reach the hungry WRC audience in all parts of the globe and is definitely a great news. Here is below, press release of the same.

  • Live action from WRC stages every Saturday – as well as dedicated highlights programmes every Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Viewers can get their fill of the high-octane action for free at or via the Red Bull TV app
  • Former F1 and Le Mans star Mark Webber first in a series of high-profile guest presenters

With non-stop action on snow, mud, tarmac and gravel, the FIA World Rally Championship radiates adrenalin – and next year it will be seen for the first time live on Red Bull TV. The premiere takes place at Rally Monte-Carlo in January, ushering in a new era of unique coverage from Red Bull TV and bringing the breath-taking action to more fans than ever before.

Presented by Mike Chen, Red Bull TV will be broadcasting live on Saturday from each event and will host three stunning new daily highlight shows that feature all the action. Co-presenting the action will be some of the biggest personalities in motorsport, lending a unique perspective to every rally. The first guest will be former F1 and Le Mans driver Mark Webber in Monaco.

All of the programmes will be free-to-air, and will include dedicated 20 to 30-minute highlights shows on the Friday and Saturday evenings of WRC events direct from the service park and a 30-40 minute Sunday evening wrap.

In a groundbreaking new introduction, there will also be a 75-minute Saturday midday special featuring a live stage. This will enable viewers to enjoy unprecedented levels of exhilarating footage as they follow the action in real time from both inside and outside the cars, from the snow-lined speed tests of Monte-Carlo and Sweden to the high-altitude elevation of Mexico and the gruelling gravel forest tracks of Finland, Australia and Wales.

Engaging and informed presenters, news, interviews and gossip will set new standards in WRC broadcasting and bring fans closer to the high-octane action than ever – and heading into an exciting and unpredictable new era of faster and more powerful cars, myriad driver changes and the return of an ultra-successful WRC stalwart in the shape of automotive giant Toyota, the timing could not be any more apposite.

“It’s really exciting that the WRC will be broadcast on Red Bull TV next year,” enthused long-time Red Bull athlete Sébastien Loeb, the most successful driver in the history of the sport. “Fans will now have chance to see the very best coverage of some of the best motor sport in the world entirely for free and at a time that suits them. There’s always a feeling of innovation and excitement around Red Bull, and I’m sure that this will be the case for the new TV package as well.”

The action will rev into life in glamorous Monte-Carlo in January, with the oldest and most prestigious event on the WRC calendar certain to serve as a baptism of fire for the new generation of World Rally Cars. Co-presenting the action throughout the season will be some of Red Bull’s biggest motor sport stars – beginning with former Formula 1 and sportscar star Mark Webber – alongside anchorman Mike Chen.

The first dedicated WRC programme on Red Bull TV is 9pm on Friday 20 January following the end of leg one of Rally Monte-Carlo. All shows will remain available to watch on-demand on Red Bull TV once the rally has finished.

Red Bull TV is available to watch entirely free of charge online at and via mobile, laptop or smart television, or on the dedicated Red Bull TV app, available both for iPhone and Android.
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M-Sport Confirms Sebastien Ogier & Ott Tanak for 2017 WRC season!

M-Sport's 2017 Ford Fiesta WRC car
As expected, and with great hopes and cheering from the fan followers of the sport; former Ford WRC's official outfit M-Sport boss Malcom Wilson confirms that the recent 4-time world champion rally pair, Sebastien Ogier & Julien Ingrassia, to lead their conquest for the 2017 WRC season.

Ott Tänak alongside a new co-driver Martin Järveoja will be in the second Fiesta WRC car and is very excited to be inside the all new beast of a car. 

Four-time world champion had tested the all new Ford Fiesta WRC in Wales last month, two days after trying Toyota’s Yaris World Rally Car in Spain. However, an agreement with M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson was not finalised until Monday.
“There will be a lot of new things this season, but I’m definitely looking forward to it,” said Ogier. “We have a new generation of World Rally Cars and a new team – it’s certainly an exciting time.

“There’s not long before we line-up at the start of Rallye Monte-Carlo and we’ve not had a lot of seat time with the Ford Fiesta WRC, but we’ll give it our best to be ready. We’re aware of the challenges, and I can see how hungry Malcolm and his team are for success.

“It’s funny to think that just a few months ago I was sitting at a motorsport forum at Wales Rally GB saying how nice it would be to work with him one day. I had no idea at the time that it would come quite so soon, but here we are.”

Malcom Wilson has no secrets of his desire to sign Ogier, ever since his exit from Citroen back in 2011.
“We go to Rallye Monte-Carlo with the number one on the door of the Ford Fiesta WRC and the strongest driver line-up we’ve had in years,” he said.

“To say we’re excited about next season is an understatement. We believe we have produced an exceptional car, and we’re in the best possible position ahead of this exciting new era.

“We have worked extremely hard to secure Sébastien and Julien and they believe the Ford Fiesta WRC is the car with which they can best defend their championship.”

Ott Tänak has played a major role in developing the new Fiesta and believes he is a better driver than the one that was dropped by M-Sport for a second time at the end of 2015.
“I had a great season in 2016,” he said. “We got a lot of experience under our belts and I think I became a much stronger driver. It was good to see the speed increase over the course of the year. This is the first time I’ve had a hand in developing a new car completely from scratch and it’s been great to work with the engineers.”

“The power is insane, and almost every aspect of the car has been completely redesigned. At first, I thought the increased power would make it a bit of a handful, but the guys have done such a good job. Every component works together to give incredible control – it really is the full package.

“It will be really interesting next year, and the whole team are very driven towards achieving the same goals. It’s great to have Seb and Julien in the team too. They have a lot of experience and I think we can all learn a lot from them. We had some great battles together this year, and I’m sure that will continue in 2017. There’s so much potential in this team. You can feel the excitement and we can’t wait to get started!”

We all had seen the camaraderie between Ogier & Tanak, but how far will they gel together as part of the same team, while fighting for victories is definitely worth the wait! Also, so far M-Sport has not released any statement about Eric Camilli, but he has a 2017 contract and news on his future is expected shortly.

The unexpected exit of Volkswagen Motorsport from the World Rally Championship had left it's entire driving squad without a drive. While Jari-Matti Latvala's seat has almost been confirmed by the Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC team, it is third driver Andreas Mikkelsen & his compatriot Mads Ostberg perhaps who are left-out without a seat for the upcoming season and we hope they find a rewarding seat soon!
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Finns all the way! Jari-Matti Latvala secures Toyota WRC for 2017

Toyota Yaris WRC with huge tail wing & other aero-kit!

In the wake of the seat crisis for the champion drivers, ex-VW'ians - after their official exit, the entire driver line-up were left out to hunt for a drive next season. Sebastien Ogier was half successful to try out the next-gen WRC cars, and the remaining half reluctant. In the heat-up, the next two & quite important drivers were nowhere heard in the main-stream media.

Jari-Matti, Miikka Antilla & TGR staff, during testing.
Jari-Matti Latvala & Andreas Mikkelsen were already contenders to secure a seat in the 4-time WRC champion driver Tommi Makinen managed Toyota Gazoo Racing WRC Team. 

But the latest talk mentions, that Volkswagen refugee driver Latvala has a drive booked at Toyota's new World Rally Championship team in 2017. Although he is reportedly agreed team's terms, there are a lot going-on on the negotiations table and he says,

"I cannot confirm that I have signed, and have been negotiating a lot with Tommi with my manager Timo Jouhki, but I cannot tell you I have signed."

Jari-Matti's almost secured deal with Toyota makes matters unpleasant for his ex-VW team-mate Andreas, who was also favoured to land up a seat Finnish-Japanese WRC team. Today, Latvala also completed the first tests with a newly upgraded aero for the Yaris WRC.

Almost fully developed VW Polo WRC 2017 spec
Also there is a strong speculation that a private funding from the Middle East and Qatari, Nasser Al-attiyah's name along with Redbull is heard to be the saviour of the project by raising sufficient funds in-time to save the Volkswagen's Polo R WRC 2017 programme. This could also provide a private seat for either Sebastien Ogier or Mikkelsen, or both!

Until the real news pops up, guesses and rumours are ruling the social media hubs!
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Job Opening - WRC Race Engineer Citroën Racing

Dirt storming Citroen C3 WRC 2017 world rally car, during testing.

An excellent opportunity for motorsport engineers, to be part of the Citroen Racing's World Rally Championship programme for 2017 season! English & French speaking abilities is a must for this profile with sound knowledge of the sport with chassis preparation specialisation and upkeeping one Citroen C3 WRC car for the forthcoming season. This comes from the Citroen's motorsport chief Yves Matton himself, and if this doesn't excites you, then probably you are totally sane!

Interested candidates apply at their linkedin post here. Have a look of the Job description below, apply if you possess the skills needed and if interested. Good luck, and see you with the French team! 

Citroen Racing, WRC service support team during the first test of C3 WRC.

Job description

Role purpose :
- It is a full time job, based in Versailles at Citroën Racing workshop.
- The person filling this role will be part of the chassis department.
- He will be a race engineer in charge of one car of the team for the year in the WRC championship.

The main responsibilities :
- Ensure optimum car performance during the rally, using experience and technical know-how.
- Ensure race car assembly according to specifications.
- Support the final build-up of the car and decide on its setup.
- Collaborate with the other engineers and pilots of the team and participates in the specification and set up.
- Coordinate and advise the car engineering and mechanics group.
- Actively cooperate with respective departments helping the development of the car.
- Participate to the various technical meetings, and monitor the resolution of problems during tests and races.
- Can take over responsibility for some test sessions, and ensure its presence on some others.

Skills and qualifications required:
- A degree in Mechanical or Automotive Engineering or equivalent.
- 5 years’ experience as a race engineer
- Excellent up-to-date technical knowledge especially regarding rally cars as well as relevant experience in a track environment.
- Excellent problem-solving skills.
- The ability to analyze and interpret data.
- The ability to prioritize and plan effectively .
- The ability to work under pressure and to deliver high quality to tight deadlines.
- The ability to lead a team.
- knowledge of Magneti Marelli software Wintax.
- knowledge of developer tools (VBA, Matlab, etc ...).
- Fluent English and French language skills.
- Willingness to travel and show a flexible approach to working hours.
- Good communication and team-working skills.
- Solid project management capabilities
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Team India emerges as Champions by winning in their category at RFC 2016 Grand Final in Malaysia

Enthusiastic Gurmeet & Kirpal after the win

Force Gurkha RFC India 2016
champions Gurmeet Virdi and Kirpal Singh Tung beat seasoned international off-roaders to grab the top spot in their category in the world-renowned off-road motorsport competition

Tiranga at Malaysia RFC finale
New Delhi, December 6, 2016: Force Gurkha RFC India 2016 Champions Gurmeet Virdi and Kirpal Singh Tung have put India firmly on the global off-roading map and ensured that their names will find a prominent mention in offroading history. The duo has not only become the first Indian team ever to successfully complete the Grand Final of the Rainforest Challenge (RFC) Global Series, but has also emerged on top in their category at the RFC 2016 Grand Final in Malaysia. Team India scored a total 1,361 points out of 2,400 after the completion of the 20th edition of what is considered to be one of the top 10 toughest motor races in the world. This ensured them the top spot in their category.

Gurmeet Virdi and Kirpal Singh Tung participated in Force Gurkha RFC India 2016 that was held in Goa in July and emerged as the winners of the competition. This win earned them an automatic entry in the RFC 2016 Grand Final, which is the culmination of the Global RFC Series having 25 editions worldwide. While this was Gurmeet’s second foray in RFC Global Final, it was Kirpal’s first ever international off-road competition experience. Gurmeet was the co-driver of Team India in RFC 2014 Grand Final, which was the first time an Indian team had participated in this coveted off-road motorsport competition.

During vehicle preparation back in garage
Unable to contain his excitement on this win, Gurmeet said, “Kirpal and I had decided before coming to Malaysia that we had to concentrate on preserving our vehicle and staying in the competition till the end. Though we definitely dreamt of winning, our focus throughout the week was on avoiding penalties and vehicle breakdown. Now that the final results have been announced, I am finding it hard to believe that our dream has come true. The feeling is yet to sink in!

Gurmeet and Kirpal, though being new to the international off-roading scenario, gave a neck-to-neck competition to seasoned off-roaders despite the fact that they were driving a hired competition vehicle, which they had not even seen till a couple of days prior to the commencement of the competition. 

Luis J.A. Wee, Gurmeet & Kirpal receiving their trophies!
As per Mr. Ashish Gupta, Founder & Director, Cougar Motorsport Pvt. Ltd., the company which organizes RFC India, “I would like to congratulate Gurmeet and Kirpal on their superb performance in the RFC 2016 Grand Final. We brought RFC to India three years ago with the intent of promoting the latent off-road talent in various parts of the country and help promising Indian offroaders gain recognition not only in our country but also internationally. Having an Indian team on the podium in Malaysia this year is like a mission well accomplished.
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Clean sweep Victory for Gaurav Gill, APRC Coffee Day India Rally, Chikmagalur

Gaurav Gill cornering through the tight twisty gravel roads of coffee estates of Chikmagalur, India

Mike Young negotiating a turn in his Subaru R4
Gaurav Gill wins Coffee Day India Rally, the sixth and final event of APRC at coffee estates of Chikmagalur. Starting first on the road and winning all the stages of the Sunday. By this victory on home soil of the 2016 APRC season, Gaurav also has the honours of a clean sweep victory in all the six events of the championship. He and his team Skoda MRF Racing also won the APRC Driver, Co-Driver & Team Championship titles in the penultimate APRC round at Malaysian Rally.

Yuya Sumiyama in Subaru STi R4
Yesterday, Gill's team-mate Germany's tarmac ace Fabian Kreim retired early in SS3 after his Skoda Fabia R5's rear suspension broke in a minor accident and in the process blocking the road for the entire APRC cars who started behind him. No one were injured and the remaining cars had to turn back to the next stage start and the damaged Fabia was cleared from the stage in no-time.

Sanjay Takale in Subaru R4
Gaurav carried on with his stage after stage wins, and ended up in a commanding lead of over 7 minutes to his nearest chaser, New Zealand's Mike Young in a Cusco prepared Subaru R4. Sanjay Takale was the another Indian to complete on the podium, after Fabian early and later retirements of Yuya Sumiyama's Subaru STi R4 who had brake issues in the second run of the Chandrapura special stage (SS6), finally went off the road in a corner due to near failure of wheel stopping device.

The charging Fabian Kreim.
Gill sideways through the gates!
In the final day today, with four stages remaining Fabian Kriem stole the victory of the opening two tests, while Gill took the day's third test to his crown.

Gaurav Gill took the rally victory with a commanding gap of 11m22s over second placed Micheal Young.
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Volkswagen confirms Homologation of the 2017 WRC machine!

Jari-Matti Latvala during tests far before the exit announcement!

Volkswagen Motorsport chief Frank Welsch confirms the homologation news of the fully developed 2017 spec WRC Polo R. Although the recent dramatic and totally unexpected exit from the top rally sport, albeit reigning it for all 4 years since it entered, the Volkswagen Motorsport many times was found testing it's new car. Now it has finally initiated the process of getting the new machine rally ready.

VW Polo R WRC 2017 spec during gravel tests
The recent Dieselgate scandal that demarked nearly 30,000 workers, and the WRC program would be surely hated among those community, and would hurt its market position. With a considerable investment in developing the new machine, it was obvious that a customer/private team program, without the manufacturer's title branding was coming as many had guessed.

Marcus Gronholm was the man behind the wheel during the most tests for developing the 2017 Polo, which concluded last week, and with that the 4-time championship winning manufacturer is expecting private customer teams for the upcoming season.

Tarmac tests of the VW Polo R WRC 2017
"Lots of private teams have been asking to run the car and, while there is no decision on whether we will do that yet, with development 99% complete it made sense to complete the final hoops required for homologation so we can if necessary," said Welsch. "At the moment all I can say people are interested and we are keeping the possibility open."

With that Welsch also confirms that VW was is sticking to it's announced promise of all-electric rallycross cars in the future. "We're looking at, yes," he said. The possibility of Redbull making it happen is quite a possibility too!

With this new announcement, the 4-time WRC champion driver/co-driver and his fellow-former team-mates might have a better chance for 2017? Only time will tell!
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Fierce Battle Ahead in Chikmagalur, Gill plans to take it all! Coffee Day India Rally, APRC

Fabian Kreim powersliding the SSS @Amber Valley School, Chikmagaluru, India

Gaurav Gill & Jr.GG @Ceremonial Start!
Gaurav Gill plans to take the ultimate victory on home soil, after winning all the rounds so far in the 2016 season's APRC. Knowing his immediate competition coming from team-mate Fabian Kriem and Micheal Young, the rally is definitely going to be definitely interesting.

India Rally is also the home for Sanjay Takale yet feels like the other newcomers as he had never competed in Coffee Day Rally earlier in his career, but nevertheless is all excited about the rally. It is also the first outing for the new Skoda Fabia R5 in India, and in the narrow twisty coffee estates of Chikmagaluru it is going to be some big fight as he says as rally of thousand corners.

#Shakedown #IndiaRally at #Chikmagaluru!
Overnight rains before the rally have made the stages more interesting, and all the drivers & crew are mentally preparing for the event, just in case there is more tonight. Spectator Special stage was held today at the playground of Amber Valley School, Chikmagaluru. Fabian Kreim was the fastest among the lot with 2m17.8s on the clock, 0.7s ahead of the country's favourite Gaurav Gill both in Team MRF's Skoda Fabia R5. Yuya Sumiyama was the third quickest today's short 2.21 kms prologue in Cusco prepared Subaru STi.

Sanjay Takale excited to see his Car on the banner!
In INRC/IRC series, Sanjay Takale leads the pack with 2m28.9s, followed by Mahindra Adventure's Amittrajit Ghosh down by a whole 9s in his Mahindra XUV500, while Arjun Rao in a quick third with a gap of 10s to the leader in his VW Polo R2.

Tomorrow is going to be a tough battle for the honours in the dusty, twisty coffee plantation roads of Chikmagaluru. However, more overnight showers are predicted, although they nobody wants it. All they do now is wait till it is dawn again and the rain gods hold it up for a couple more days and then just rally hard!
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